Revelstoke elementary students lined up to cast their federal votes Oct. 17.
Student Vote is a Canada-wide program that provides students with the opportunity to experience the voting process firsthand.
“Now when we get out of school, we know what to do and how to vote,” said Ella Deverall, Grade 6/7 student from Begbie View Elementary.
The program is funded through CIVIX, a non-partisan, national registered charity. On their website, it states that its vision is to have a strong and inclusive democracy where all young people are ready, willing and able to participate.
From Oct. 15 to 18, more than 1 million students are expected to cast ballots for the local candidates in their school’s riding.
For the 2015 student vote across Canada, the Liberal’s won 225 seats out of the 338 seats in Parliament, which is roughly 66 per cent. By comparison, the Liberals actually won 184 seats, which is just below 40 per cent.
Eleanor Wilson, one of the teachers taking part and helping to organize the student vote in Revelstoke, showed the students how to vote, explaining why the first vote is slow because the first person to vote has to verify that the voters’ box is empty and staff have not “been stacking votes.”
She explained how to mark and fold the vote correctly to avoid spoilage.
Catherine Lavelle, teacher from Begbie View Elementary said being part of Student Vote is useful for introducing students to information and media literacy, facts versus opinions, the importance of source checking including images and finally, party platforms and the voting process.
Many of the students were excited to vote.
|Paxkal Consuegra-Higgins took part in Begbie View Elementary’s mock federal election. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)|
Paxkal Consuegra-Higgins from Grade 6/7 said climate is an important issue for this election and therefore will be voting for the Green Party.
“Abra seems to have a lot of experience, especially dealing with food security.”
Abra Brynne is the executive director of the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council, president of the Kootenay Country Store Co-op, and a volunteer on the Kootenay Organic Growers certification committee.
Another student, Tobin Gill, also agreed that climate is an issue. He said he would like to vote Green, but is voting for the NDP instead. He thinks Wayne Stetski has a better chance of winning.
“I just don’t want the Conservatives to get in,” he said.
In the 2015 federal election, Stetski only won the Kootenay – Columbia riding by 282 votes or 0.4 per cent. The Conservatives came second.
Deverall said she is voting Conservative because she likes their platform on taxes, especially their pledge to cut foreign aid.
Ottawa spent a total of $6.098 billion on “international assistance” in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, according to the latest statistical report from Global Affairs Canada. Of that amount, $3.41 billion was spent directly on aid to other nations.
Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party, has pledged to cut foreign aid by 25 per cent.
Another student, Meah Cowley, said animal rights are an important issue for her.
“It’s a privilege to have an animal.”
She will be voting for the Animal Protection Party.
In Revelstoke, both Arrow Heights and Begbie View Elementary participated from Grades 5,6,7 in the Student Vote. Columbia Park Elementary did not, although they did take part in the 2015 vote.
In the 2015 Student Vote for Revelstoke, the majority of votes went to the NDP.
The 2019 Student Vote results from across Canada will be posted after next week’s federal election.